Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Buster Posey doubles as Cal’s Freshman Quarterback    Who knew?
Young Mr. Goff/Posey demonstrated all the poise, composure, focus and athleticism as his doppelganger across the bay.  Separated at birth?  Or just born with MVP genes?

The best part?  He grew up watching games in section DD—same as a tall good lookin’ guy who is apt to get a few less Christmas Cards from Cal this year.   

 If you watched any of his interviews after the game, you couldn’t help but come away with what a great job of parenting his folks have done.

Speaking of great parenting, I feel most sorry for Zach Kline’s parents.  Zach was in a full on completion with Goff, and barely lost.  Young Kline, is a stud athlete and by all reports an outstanding young man.   Barring injury, he’s not looking at a lot of playing time down the road.

Of course, at every position on O and D there is a set of parents or guardians who bleed because there kid is not in there.  ‘Twas always thus.

(When my kid was a Freshman 6th string qb behind Brady Quinn  at Notre Dame (he was NEVER going to play), it was a hoot to sit with the parents in the stands.  To a person, the only problem with the team was that Tyrone Willingham wasn’t playing their kid enough.  If only their kid were in then……)

            Back to the game:  There’s nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning on the eve of Cal’s first home game.  It’s like springtime—life seems fresh and hope springs eternal.   Like a kid waiting to see what Santa has brought on Christmas morn, we can’t wait to hit the Cal campus (one of the two best places to watch a Cal home game), wander the tailgates and join one’s friends to exchange profound profundities and demonstrate to one another how (like the 2nd string players) if only each one of us were Coach, AD, or Chancellor, how much better the world would be.

Egotistical?  Duh.  But that’s why “Fan” is short for “Fanatics.”  True fans are never rational.

The Sporting Green is sacred, treated like a holy relic and read only one way:  Slowly.   Painstakingly, we read all the other articles—even about the Indians--saving the Bear columns for last, like a tantalizing dessert you’ve waited all week to taste.

 Now a-days one can print out a variety of columns from the internet to add additional courses to the love feast.
We are so easily amused.

There was a time, of course, when we could pack up the car on fall mornings and head to Strawberry canyon bubbling over with excitement and anticipation.  Alas, we now live in the TBD world of ESPN and like functionaries in a Kafka novel, faceless bureaucrats tell us when we are allowed to play our own games on our own campii.

With chills running down my spine I couldn't wait to see my “homies” and for those first two beers, maybe a Bloody Mary to boot.  Then, of course, it’s time to get out of bed for breakfast.
At the last moment a client came in and we couldn't leave the Valley in time for the 7:30 kick off.   This "working" thing often gets in the way of tailgating.
So I had to miss the pageantry and excitement of opening day.  What I missed most was getting to see those young men on their March to Victory dressed in blazers and ties--looking sharp--looking disciplined--looking like a team--a family. 

 I used to cringe at some of the "Gangstah" looks that kids on past teams wore on the March to Victory.
(We were raised on Mr. Carpy's "A guy who cares enough to look like a ball player, just might be a ball player).

I well remember the first time I got to suit up (I was just a "green weenie," scout team guy) and was given the Cal Blazer (we had to buy the yellow shirt and tie at George Good's).  
The pride I felt getting off that bus and walking into that stadium stays with me today--and I was never going to play.
The only thing better was being fully dressed and waiting in that darkened tunnel for the signal to run out on to a field where Andy Smith's ashes were scattered.   There is literally a tiny light at the end of the tunnel.
It's so dark, that the pupils of your eyes are agape.  Then the signal is given and you run out and are blinded by the light as the cannon goes off, the band plays, the cheerleaders dance, and the crowd yells. 
That is an aspect of College football that all the TV revenue in the world can never replace, nor comprehend--but I digress.
As to the game itself, you've read all there is to read about it.  Unlike only one other thing in life, it was better than advertised. 
The kids swarmed around the ball.  They hit and hit hard.  Bigelow started off making a tall good lookin' guy look prescient as far back as two years ago.

The fake field goal and D’amato’s shot put pass to Matt Bouza’s kid was like emptying the dishwasher and then giving your wife a blank check at Gucci’s.  You own her for at least 24 hours.

Coach Dykes had 58,000 fans eating out of his hand.

(Speaking of kids, how about Brian Tregg’s kid, Bryce.  He had his big boy pants on).  Dad's numbers are apt to be surpassed--in a matter of days.

The deflections?

Vince Lombardi used to say that in football 22 men can play for 59 minutes—do everything right—and  then some defensive back slips in the mud and you lose the game.

Two pass deflections run back for TDs?  Not unheard of but rare.  (It’s why Ray Willsey used to use Daryl Royal’s line “ When you pass the ball three things can happen—and two of them are bad.”)

Alan Dundees might tell you Mouse Davis and June Jones played Thesueus to King Minos, killing the Minatour, on Crete, and then instituting the first Athenian Democracy. 

Davis and Jones “killed” the status quo—the tyrannical attitude that football was about hard nosed running first and foremost.  

  They (and others) laid the ground work for what we now see as the Bear Raid.    They overthrew (no pun intended) the Establishment and like true heroes returned to gave us (the hoi polloi) something new.

Unheroic was the “professional” team-wide faking of injuries to slow us down.   ("We smell poses").  Here we are supposed to be teaching these kids to become good citizens, and (under the guidance of the coaching staff) with the co-operation of the medical staff  we witnessed a national educational disgrace.
The training staff--which should not be a part of this--immediately surrounded the “Injured” player.  Then they let him walk off under his own power and return to the game a play or two later.  It was a sad commentary.  Teaching children to "game the system"--essentially lie--is not cool at any University--especially one as renowned as Northwestern.

Quick rule change:  If you're hurt and leave the field (this is for your own safety), you're out for the next two series--or 10 plays--or for the next quarter--figure it out, but get it inserted.

Of course Cal wrote the book on that (ok, we didn’t write it but we got caught and punished for it).

L’affair Lupois was a dark moment in Cal football.  We lost a fine, fine young man and an amazing recruiter.

Anyway, it’s quite an evolution and quite exciting to watch. (What's disconcerting is that SEC schools are probably watching it too--but that is the state of College football).

The conventional wisdom is that we may not win many games but we won’t be dull.  If I heard right, only 6 of the 22 starters were Seniors. 

If that’s the case, Coach Shaw better not get too Cocky.  There are a lot of games between now and Big Game (at Cal, now) and it’s a fair guess (no matter what our record) we probably won’t be getting worse.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

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